George Zimmerman appears before Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. Friday, April 20, 2012, during a bond hearing in Sanford, Fla. Lester says Zimmerman can be released on $150,000 bail as he awaits trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Martin. He claims self-defense. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Gary W. Green, Pool)
Defense Gets More Evidence in Trayvon Martin Case
by Mike Schneider
Orlando, FL (AP) -- June 15, 2012 --
Prosecutors have turned over witness statements, FBI reports and crime scene photos to the attorney representing the former neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Prosecutors also said Friday they plan to release 151 calls George Zimmerman made from jail, early next week, but then revised that to only six phone calls after Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara informed them that he would file a motion objecting to the release of most of the calls.
Some of those calls led to a judge revoking Zimmerman's $150,000 bond earlier this month. It also led to the arrest of his wife on a charge of making a false statement.
The calls show Zimmerman telling his wife in April how to transfer about $135,000 raised from a website to different bank accounts. Just days later, Shellie Zimmerman testified at her husband's bail hearing that she didn't know how much money had been raised by the website.
Zimmerman is pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense.
Judge: Zimmerman Statements Can Be Released
by Mike Schneider
Orlando, FL (AP) -- June 13, 2012 --
Statements a former neighborhood watch leader made to detectives after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin can be released to the public, a judge ruled Wednesday.
But Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said that the identities of witnesses who observed the fatal confrontation in February between George Zimmerman and the 17-year-old Martin can stay private, provided the witnesses haven't been identified previously.
"The innocent witnesses who have performed their civic or moral duty by reporting what they observed to law enforcement should not have their lives turned upside-down for having done so," Lester wrote.
Lester's ruling was in response to a challenge news media groups, including The Associated Press, filed against efforts to seal some records.
Prosecutors and Zimmerman's defense attorney had wanted to keep both Zimmerman's statements and the witnesses' identities private. They had argued that their public release would jeopardize Zimmerman's chance of getting a fair hearing when he is tried for second-degree murder. Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense.
The judge said disclosing Zimmerman's statements to police detectives wouldn't jeopardize his ability to get a fair trial. He also ruled that tests given to Zimmerman after the shooting could be released, as well as some crime-scene photos and Zimmerman's recorded telephone calls from jail.
Some of those jailhouse calls involve Zimmerman directing his wife, Shellie, to transfer funds raised on a website to different bank accounts. Those jailhouse calls were cited by prosecutors, who successfully asked the judge to revoke Zimmerman's $150,000 bond earlier this month. Prosecutors accuse Zimmerman and his wife of misleading the judge about how much money they had available for his bond at a bail hearing in April. Shellie Zimmerman was arrested Tuesday on a charge of making a false statement under oath.
Zimmerman has a second bond hearing scheduled for the end of the month.
Prosecutors File Evidence, Witness List in Martin Killing
May 16, 2012 -
Prosecutors in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman filed their list of witnesses and evidence in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin late Monday at the Seminole County clerk's office. The eight-page document redacts most names from the witness list, but in addition to law enforcement officers and fire-rescue personnel, they include Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, his brother, Jahvarius Fulton, and Zimmerman's father, Robert Zimmerman, neighbor Frank Taaffe and friend Joe Oliver. Special Prosecutor Angela Corey's office also provided nine reports by the Sanford Police Department, including five by lead investigator Chris Serino. Evidence includes videos from Feb. 26, the night of Martin's death, taken at the 7-Eleven store where he purchased candy and iced tea, and from the clubhouse in the gated community where he was killed. Other items: cell phone records for Zimmerman, Martin and an unnamed witness; materials from the neighborhood watch program for which Zimmerman was acting as a volunteer; Zimmerman's gun, concealed weapon permit and medical and legal records; crime scene phots and Martin's autopsy report. Other witnesses include investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the office of Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger and Corey's office.